There have been many potential feuds and matches over the course of wrestling history that didn't come to fruition for whatever reason. Fans often look back and wonder "what if," but that simply leads to disappointment. One dream rivalry that should never reach that point, though, is CM Punk vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
It is difficult to think of two gimmicks that are more perfect to oppose each other than Punk and Austin's. Punk is a straight-edge heel who believes that he is better than everyone else and craves being called the best wrestler in the world. Austin is a beer-guzzling, no-nonsense face who knows that he's the best but doesn't look for confirmation from anyone else.
Punk and Austin are tailor-made for each other, and it would be an absolute shame if the fans were deprived of it. Talk of a potential match between them started over a year ago when Austin became much more visible as host of Tough Enough, and while there isn't any true indication of when that match might be, I feel like it will be sooner rather than later.
In a lot of ways, Punk is like a throwback to the Attitude Era, so there is no better current foe for Austin than the WWE Champion. Punk is the type of guy who has been able to get over within the current product, but I believe that he would have been even better without a filter during the Attitude Era.
That Attitude Era connection has come up quite a bit recently with the impending release of the WWE '13 video game. The biggest feature in the game is the inclusion of an Attitude Era story mode as well as many playable characters from that time in wrestling history. The main focus, however, is unquestionably Austin as he even has his own collector's edition available.
THQ has released some interview segments in recent weeks regarding the game and one of great interest was a debate of sorts between Punk and Austin that was moderated by Jim Ross. The two of them talked about the differences between the Attitude and PG eras and also about how each of them would fare in the past and present.
The discussion became contentious, and it got to the point where it was unclear whether they were talking about the game or real life. Punk said that he would beat Austin in any era, and Stone Cold offered the opposite opinion. It was clearly a calculated move by the WWE and a precursor of things to come.
Many have targeted WrestleMania XXX as the event where the dream match will come to fruition, and that is definitely a possibility, but I'm optimistic that it will happen at WrestleMania XXIX this coming April in East Rutherford, N.J. Whatever the case, it's a matter of when—not if—this match, and the feud that goes with it, is going to happen.
Austin is still recovering from knee surgery, and it's uncertain exactly when he'll be ready to return to action, but my thought is that it will happen at Royal Rumble. I anticipate Punk retaining his WWE Championship against The Rock as well as Austin shockingly entering the Rumble at No. 30 and winning it for a fourth time.
Austin would then challenge Punk at WrestleMania the next night on RAW and the entire feud could be built on disrespect. Punk will say that Royal Rumble was supposed to be his night but that Austin just had to steal the spotlight and relive his past glory. There is so much pointing to the match happening that it simply can't be ignored.
Punk is one of the biggest stars in WWE currently, but he can't reach legendary status until he has a WrestleMania match for the ages, and Austin would help provide that. Austin is the most controversial wrestler in WWE history and Punk holds that title for the present day, and I don't believe there is anything that can stop them from meeting in the ring at some point.